Apple could kill wireless carriers, but will they?

Steve Jobs with the original iPhone at its announcement in 2007
Image via AppleInsider

When the first iPhone came out, it was seen as a bold move against carriers. The phone marked the first time that carriers such as AT&T and Verizon didn’t have complete control over the device their cellular network was powering. Many manufactures followed Apple in their move against carrier, opting to design the phone and determine its features first and then go to carriers, and the cellular service industry as a whole lost a major foothold in the mobile computing space. But now, 12 years after the original iPhone changed the world, Apple could finally abandon cellular carriers and possibly destroy them once and for all. Today, in a report published by Bloomberg, it was announced that Apple could reportedly ditch cellular carriers in exchange for their own first party cellular network. According to the report, the network would utilize satellites to provide cell service to users. This would mark the first time in the history of the smart phone that a company would break away from carriers and such a move could drastically disrupt the carrier industry, and possibly even destroy it. With a company as far reaching as Apple, the power that cellular providers hold could finally be stripped away from them. This would have obvious benefits for users, such as increased privacy, possible lower costs for cell service, possibly a better user experience by not needing to use SIM cards, and cleaner design through the removal of said SIM card. But with those clear upsides comes less clear downsides, the biggest of which being antitrust issues. A world in which Apple owns the phone, the operating system, and the cellular network is a pretty clear analog to the time when the Bell-Ma telephone company owned the phone and the phone lines, a fact that led to their splitting up due to an anti trust case. While Apple could allow other phone manufacturers to utilize their cellular technology, an idea made more plausible due to their recent track record of playing nice with other tech giants, something tells me Apple wouldn’t want to do this, as they could use the technology as a possible selling point for future iPhones, as a feature not available on other devices. At a time where Apple is already facing demands to be split up, this would just serve as another argument for an antitrust case against them. But all this relies on whether or not this rumor is true. If it is, this could be a major step in the future of mobile computing, but we will have to wait and see if they can truly replicate move to the same effect of the one they pulled with the first iPhone, 12 years ago.

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